Leithen Rovers give boss Paul a brilliant send-off in South Cup final

Leithen Rovers played out of their skins for departing boss Paul Graham on Saturday, winning the South Cup against top opposition.

Carluke Baptist AFC were massive favourites ahead of the match, having made the quarter-finals of the Scottish Amateur Cup this year,

Alan McMath wheels away after scoring the winner in the South Cup Final on Saturday

Alan McMath wheels away after scoring the winner in the South Cup Final on Saturday

And they looked like they were strolling to victory when 3-1 ahead with 26 minutes remaining.

But the Rovers, bouyed by the visitors losing one man through a rash tackle and another in a cynical foul late on, went on to win 4-3.

Alan McMath was the main reason the scoreline kept ticking over, his hat-trick, and brilliant partnership with strike partner Peter Shearlaw making a huge difference.

Baps strolled ahead in the seventh minute with a great finish from Scott Murphy, who thumped Craig Stewart’s cutback into the top corner,

And things did not look great for Rovers as Carluke keeper Cameron Stewart looked to be a tough nut to crack, a superb double save from Shearlaw and McMath dented the home side’s mini revival.

But a goal did come for Rovers, McMath stabbing home the equaliser from a Hagen Steele cross just before half-time.

McMath had the ball in the net again four minutes into the second half. Unfortunately it was from an offside position and it did not count. But it did act as a warning notice to the men from Carluke.

First, Scott Crone found Georgie McColl, whose shot was deflected into the net by Rovers’ Chris Borthwick.

Then Baps made it 3-1 as Craig Stewart scored from a Musafa El-Zubaidi corner.

Then it all started to go wrong for Carluke.

Iain Anderson received a straight red card for his challenge on Simon Philbin in the Baps box. Andy Hardie stuck away the resultant penalty.

With Carluke’s shape knocked out of kilter, McMath grabbed the equaliser three minutes later from a Shearlaw low cross.

And in the 80th minute, McMath got his hat-trick after playing an impeccable one-two with Shearlaw.

Baps fought for another but the Leithen defence held out.

Graham told The Southern: “It being my last game is immaterial, if the players want to win it, it’s for them and the club.

“I knew we were underdogs, but I knew they had it in them and they gave it their all.”